Effingham County (IL) to Review Ambulance Provider Bids

The photo shows the front of a white ambulance with the word
File Photo

Charles Mills

Effingham Daily News, Ill.


As a committee readies to review bids for ambulance service in Effingham County, an EMT is asking officials to consider a new approach that would allow more than one provider to respond to emergencies.

Effingham County Board members Monday voted to move 911 ambulance service bid proposals to the Ambulance Oversight Committee. The current five-year contract between the county and Abbott EMS ends on April 30, 2022. The new contract with the chosen provider will be three years and start on May 1. The county received bids from Abbott EMS, Rural Med and Lakeside EMS.

“The committee will go through the process of looking at each of these bids,” said Ambulance Oversight Chairman Rob Arnold.

Arnold said there was a change in procedure from the original plan defined during the Ambulance Oversight meeting last week. He said rather than reviewing bids in closed session the Ambulance Oversight Committee would discuss the bids in open session.

He said a recommendation would be given to the Legislative Committee of the Whole next month before being moved to the full board for final approval on Oct. 18.

During Monday’s meeting, newly certified Emergency Medical Technician Brad Miller of Altamont asked the board to consider his idea for operating 911 ambulance service in the county.

“A vast majority of 911 calls for EMS are critical and time sensitive that need to be handled swiftly and focused on patient-first care, meaning the necessary help gets there as soon as possible,” said Miller.

“I would suggest a GPS-based idea called the closest ambulance concept,” he said.

He said the most efficient way to launch the program would be to implement a policy that the closest available ambulance should take a 911 call regardless of what company it is.

“With location-based dispatching, the dispatcher can see both the location of the pending call and the location of all available units that could respond,” Miller said.

He said they should consider having more than one company that would have a minimum number of units available on call, then a dispatcher would ultimately decide which ambulance to dispatch based on location and not whose turn it is to respond to a call. He said each company can decide where to place their units throughout the county to be strategically located to receive the closest call.

“I want the closest ambulance if it’s my loved one,” he said.

Effingham County Board Chairman Jim Niemann asked Miller where he could find information about his concept. Miller said some police departments and 911 dispatch centers already have the system in place.

“It’s not a new concept,” Miller said.

Meanwhile, board members proclaimed Oct. 3 through 9 National 4-H Week in Effingham County. The proclamation recognized all 17 4-H clubs in Effingham County.

“4-H provides a unique opportunity for young people to develop life skills through hands-on learning experiences, including educational workshops, project work, presentation experiences, camps, conferences and other events at local, county, district, state, national and international levels,” Niemann read from the proclamation. “We urge all of our citizens to encourage and support the work of the 4-H.”

4-H members Ely VanDyke and Alexis VanDyke accepted the proclamation from Niemann on behalf of all 4-H clubs in Effingham County.

In other action, the board:

  • Made the following reappointments to the Economic Advisory Board — Larry Taylor, Ed Hoopingarner and Todd Hull — for a term starting Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2025.
  • Approved a conveyance of Newman Cemetery that was owned by Effingham County to Tom Newman through a quick claim deed.
  • Agreed to a Liuna union national pension withdrawal liability settlement that was initiated several years ago before members for the current board served. Niemann said only four county employees remain in the union. He said the county will make a $16,000 payment in October and the remainder of the settlement, $320,000, will be made in December.
  • Approved a benefit for Effingham County employees who are over age 65 and on Medicare. Niemann said the county would pay qualifying employees’ Medicare supplements rather than making the employee pay for county insurance when they are already receiving insurance coverage through Medicare. He said paying only the Medicare supplements will save taxpayers money.
  • Approved a GIS (geographic information system) contract with Sidwell for strategic enterprise planning services.
  • Approved a donation of $2,000 to the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce in support of Manufacturing Day 2021 set for Thursday, Oct. 7.
  • Approved Illinois Department of Transportation compliance reviews for 2020 for county Motor Fuel Tax, Township Motor Fuel Tax and Township Bridge program funds.
  • Approved a Jackson Township bridge aid petition.

Charles Mills can be reached at charles.mills@effinghamdailynews.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.

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